Metronomy
The English Riviera


4.5
superb

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
May 23rd, 2011 | 24 replies | 9,332 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Love. I'm in love again."

It's gotten to the stage where just having the label of Indie Pop is enough to turn me off a band. There hasn't been a stand out album from the genre for a few years now and every album sounds exactly like the last, if even a little worse. It's depressing really, a genre based of innovation stagnating at such a fast rate... I'm impressed with my own observation there, it's very poignant; at least, that is until Metronomy came along and released one of the best Indie Pop albums I've ever set my ears to. The bastards.

This isn't a genre known for being deep: it's saturated with (not-so-)witty one liners, easy-to-strum-to guitar parts and too many synthesizers to count. Truth be told, it never needed to be deep; all that ever mattered was making a song that made you smile and was easy to listen to. With "The English Riviera", Metronomy don't exactly break the mold, but they do provide an incredibly solid set of songs that will stay with you long after you expect them to.

One of the hardest things to do with an album such as this is to find a tone and to stick to it. Too often there will be an array of obligatory songs (an instrumental, a ballad, an acoustic/piano one etc.) that usually come across as uninspired, ,present only for the sake of filling out space and at worse completely jarring. Metronomy create a tone somewhere in between calm and wistful. Explosions of electronic-energy are followed by lulls of bass-guitar driven outros. "The English Riviera" is certainly still capable of surprising you, but for the most part it will stick, albeit sometimes loosely, to this tone.

I'm not sure how Metronomy mastered the art of making songs so catchy, yet not annoying in the slightest, but pretty much every song on the album will be repeating itself in your head for a good few hours after each listen. Some of the synth parts seem somewhat europop-inspired in this respect, though again it isn't annoying, just incredibly simple and catchy. The prime example of this is "Corinne", initially it's driven by a bass line but before you're given a chance to relax into it you're hit by a constrained barrage of an oscillating synth and sci-fi sound effects, as well as the memorable chorus lyric of "I've got my heart tied up/ I've got my heart in a bind/ She just wants to dance all the time".

This isn't a formula that Metronomy stick to, in fact only a handful of the songs even use synths. The songs range all the way from sad and serious, with female guest vocals, to loud and energetic. The stand-out song, however, is "Love Underlined". It bucks the trend of ending on a slow, sad note by being, in many respects, a dance song. The build up, accompanied by lyrics of "We could never be in love/ but when you go you're all I'm thinking of", is sublime and possibly the most memorable portion of "The English Riviera".

The most remarkable aspect of this album is that even a month after release the songs still appeal to me. The tendency is for them to become bland after a few listens, but that couldn't be further form the case here. If anything, many of the songs have gotten better with multiple listens, notably "Corinne" and "She Wants". "The English Riviera" shows just what can be done with Indie Pop, and firmly places my faith back into the genre.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was hovering somewhere between a 4 and 4.5 with this one, pushed it up to the .5 since my last one was a 4. Can't get predictable now, can I? ;)

Anyway, did my English AS exam today so I'm in full writing mode, felt the need to do a review. Any feedback?

Kaleid
May 23rd 2011



710 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is this really that catchy? I remember getting Nights Out and thinking it was really boring, there were only a couple of songs that were halfway decent. They must have made quite a jump

DoubtGin
May 23rd 2011



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so enjoyable... a really high 3.5 for me

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I never got into the first album at all either, so yeh they've changed quite a bit.

DoubtGin
May 23rd 2011



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I might be wrong on this, but I think that genre names are not capitalized


StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@DoubtGin: haha, yeh they're probably not but for now it's not hurting anyone so I'll wait till I find something else wrong before I go and change it :P

@chambered89: what's up with you?

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, but the first few paragraphs are uncomfortably similar to one I'm in the process of writing for Frankie & The Heartstrings album haha.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, though the first few paragraphs are uncomfortably similar to a review I'm in the process of doing for Frankie & The Heartstrings' album haha.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@AliW1993: Looking forward to the review, and thanks.
@chambered89: cheers.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 23rd 2011



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was gonna review this & then practically forgot to listen to it. On the back of this review, I will change that soon (listening, not reviewing). Good stuff SoS.

I'm getting a Two Door Cinema Club vibe from the review. Am I anywhere near the mark sound-wise?

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Um... kinda. Metronomy are a lot more electro-orientated and a bit more mature as far as the music goes, but they are quite similar.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know what it is about my reviews that makes them garner the least about of votes or comments.

Are they really that bland? xD

iisblackstar
May 25th 2011



431 Comments


I thought Two door as i was reading through this as well.. ill check em out

nice review

HBFS
July 25th 2011



1226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 25th 2011



1588 Comments


I can dig We Broke Free, but other than that I'm leaning towards an eh level of caring.

Kaleid
July 25th 2011



710 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Bay is great.

HBFS
July 25th 2011



1226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and The Look

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 25th 2011



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'The Look' & 'The Bay' are the 2 best, but this could have been so much better. Probably a 3 for me.

HBFS
July 25th 2011



1226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I only really checked it out because they were added to the Falls lineup and i am pleasantly surprised with it

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 6th 2011



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

From the glitchy instrumental debut to the indie-dance follow-up, Metronomy has always had a penchant for strangely infectious melodies. Unfortunately, they have also had a propensity for overlong albums that are dragged down by filler. On their 3rd LP 'The English Riviera', the now quartet trims the fat with their most consistent & cohesive release to date, yet the final result is practically the same. Adjusting their sound to restrained, electronica infused 1970s pop-rock, it too often feels unengaging & unmemorable. As before, the highlights are strong, but this regularly comes off as background music. Recommended Tracks: The Look, The Bay & Corinne.



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